Lovat Scouts, Sharpshooters - United Kingdom
Lord Lovat, and his Scouts, were a specialized scout/observing unit that came from Scotland. The Lovat Scouts originated in
about 1899 and began their very distinquished history as some of the best scouts and observers in the world. This reputation
continued to grow during World Ward I as well. It was in October of 1916 that the formation of the 'Lovat Scout, Sharpshooter'
unit happened with the intention of
using this specialized Lovat unit as a specialized sniper organization, but it was quickly determined that a 200 man Lovat Scout,
Sharpshooter unit was too small to be effective as a stand alone sniping unit and they were too specialized and valuable to
give up their observation and stalking
skills. It was at that point that Hesketh-Prichard helped reorganize the Lovat Sharpshooters to utilize them as 'glassmen' and
observers and they
were attached to various units as such. They
were also assigned to the various sniper schools as stalking and observing instructors to pass along those very specialized and
important skills to the snipers.
The Lovat Scouts, Sharpshooters were organized into ten platoons, each platoon consisting of an Officer and 21
NCOs (Non-Commissioned Officer) and other enlisted ranks, making a total of 220 men. Each platoon was then attached to
the different Army Corps and then the individual scouts were tasked out to the units within the Corp as needed.
Conflicts of Deployment:
The Lovat Scouts were primarily used during the Boer War and World War I. There was also some Lovat Scouts during World
War II but they were not the same type of unit as the Lovats from earlier.
None. They were initially intended to use the standard sniping version of the Short, Magazine Lee Enfield (SMLE) rifle.
The main distinction of the Lovat Scout, Sharpshooter unit and the reason why they are included in our list of
distinquisable sniping units is not because of their combat sniping successes, but because they introduced the world of
sniping to the Ghillie Suit and to specialized stalking skills. The Lovats came from Scotland and consisted of many
Ghillies, or Scottish Game Wardens, who used a specialized suit, called a Ghillie Suit which consisted of strips of cloth
being attached to an outter jacket. This same basic Ghillie suit concept is still used by snipers today, 100 years after the
Lovat's used them for the first time.
Another item of distrinction for the Lovat Scouts was their skill in observation. Using nothing but a 20x spotting scope, it was
accepted that a Lovat Scout could observer troop movement in great detail at a distance of 10 miles and report on
activity at distances up to 15 miles. The legendary Hesketh-Prichard was quoted as saying about the Lovat Scouts
that "keener men never lived" and that "If they reported a thing, the thing was as they reported it."
The legacy that the Lovat's introduced to modern sniping with the introduction of advanced stalking skills, exceptional observation
ability, and especially the Ghillie Suit, firmly puts them in a place of history in the tradition of military sniping.
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